USGA adds 17 new sustainability projects in 2023 with Mike Davis grants

By |  May 3, 2023 0 Comments

The United States Golf Association (USGA) included 17 new sustainability projects for 2023 as part of its Mike Davis Program for Advancing Golf Course Management, a program that invests approximately $2 million in grants annually. Consisting of more than 70 new and ongoing research projects in 2023, the initiative continues to be the largest private turfgrass and environmental research effort in golf.

As part of the USGA Green Section, these research investments total nearly $50 million since 1983. The resulting sustainable management practices contributed to a 29 percent decrease in water use since 2005.

The Davis Grants engage university researchers and scientists in an effort to optimize natural resource use and playing conditions. According to the USGA, research from the program helped deliver stress-tolerant and higher-quality turfgrasses and enhanced all aspects of holistic management — from constructing and managing putting greens to monitoring for and controlling troublesome diseases.

“It’s not enough to simply love this game and celebrate its current growth,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “We’ve got to respect the game enough to truly care about how we leave it for the generations that will follow us. We all need to appreciate the importance of improving golf’s sustainability footprint and be committed to identifying new ways to reduce golf’s resource consumption.”

Some notable projects being funded in 2023 include an effort at New Mexico State University to validate soil moisture prediction with strategies such as satellite-based sensors, which could eventually reduce the manual collection of soil moisture readings. A new study at Rutgers University evaluates the feasibility and the financial implications of using warm-season grasses in Northern regions. The USGA also works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to further characterize the drought tolerance of native grasses that also tolerate irrigation water with salinity.

Overall, the USGA’s investment in golf course sustainability saves the industry an estimated $1.9 billion annually, including:

  • $201 million from advancing irrigation with efficiencies in turfgrass water use
  • $529 million from advancing irrigation scheduling with soil moisture meters
  • $469 million from advancing naturalized rough
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